The Aussie plodders in black: T20 World Cup preview
Who? Where? What? In the current international cricketing blur it’s easy to overlook that Australia begin another T20 World Cup campaign tonight against Ireland presumably somewhere in the sub-continent or Caribbean (maybe England).
Here are six things you need to know about the tournament and Australia’s chances:
1. Yes, the selectors have basically gone with the same old white-clothed plodders they’ve always considered capable enough to compete in a completely different format.
The major upheaval is the inclusion of George Bailey (as captain no less!), a plodder not considered good enough to play Tests for Australia but universally seen as a ‘really nice guy’, which apparently makes him an ideal captain (Ian Chappell just vomited).
2. Australia seem likely to prefer their traditional black short-form strip to the hideous grey singlety-thing they sometimes use at home. A win for the designers, a loss for those hoping retro jerseys were a chance.
3. Australia is matched against Ireland and the West Indies in the group stages. Ireland are the Bolton Wanderers of world cricket, a crew of international has-beens and local upstarts keen on brawling victories against uppity opponents.
Hopefully David Warner goes bananas and Mitchell Starc bowls straight. Should be enough.
The Windies are a different kettle of fish completely. Internal turmoil has seen their best players become T20 mercenaries.
Gayle, Pollard, Bravo and even Smith all threaten to slog matches out of reach, the antithesis of Australia’s presumed theory of ‘accumulating’ 12 runs an over. Beware.
4. Just because it’s T20 doesn’t mean pre-existing stereotypes go out the window. South Africa still choke, Pakistan are still dodgy and New Zealand are just plain rubbish.
5. Jos Buttler is the new thing in England. Kevin who? He’s brash, he’s bold, and even better, he’s actually English! His ability, however, is still countered by the probable inclusion of Ravi Bopara.
6. News flash, it’s being staged in Sri Lanka! Cue Columbo theme and two and a half weeks of Ajantha Mendis sledges on Twitter.
Roar expert Glenn Mitchell's video summary of Day 1 of the second Ashes Test at Adelaide Oval